Comment: How IT analytics can help the NHS do more with less

Poul Nielsen, director of strategy at Nexthink, on why robust and secure analytics is critical to improving NHS care

Poul Nielsen

In this article, POUL NIELSEN, director of strategy at Nexthink, reveals why robust and secure IT analytics that offer visibility across an entire infrastructure will allow frontline practitioners to carry out their work more effectively, resulting in the delivery of improved patient care, patient services and patient experience

For years now, the NHS has been tasked with providing more for less and, with this year’s Budget delivering no visible increase in funding, this is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

As increased scrutiny sees a call for more accountability from management, there is a real need for the NHS to drive up the quality and efficiency of the services and care that it delivers to patients while, at the same time, keeping costs down.

Of the many areas within the NHS working toward this objective, the ICT departments within its NHS foundation trusts, responsible for the management of the technical estates within its jurisdiction, are constantly looking for more-efficient and cost-effective ways to deliver improved levels of system availability, performance and service quality.

Ultimately, better management of these estates will deliver cost savings to the trust, along with improved service quality. Like any IT services provider, their users have one basic expectation, and that’s to ensure that their systems work.

Visibility and intelligence

Using an IT analytics platform can provide NHS trusts with clear visibility into the health and performance of their IT infrastructure, automatically identifying and isolating inefficiencies, disruptions and failures as they occur – often before users are even aware of them.

As increased scrutiny sees a call for more accountability from management, there is a real need for the NHS to drive up the quality and efficiency of the services and care that it delivers to patients while, at the same time, keeping costs down

IT analytics enable ICT managers and their teams to monitor, manage and respond to issues across their entire technical estate. The intelligence the analytics deliver will allow the pro-active identification of issues as they arise, meaning they can be fixed before they become serious problems across the wider IT infrastructure.

The insights granted by these analytics will allow ICT managers with limited budgets and resources to make quicker, more-informed decisions and deliver a more consistent and efficient service, despite the increasing size and complexity of their technical estate.

In doing so, they will be able to improve service availability levels, making it easier for them to support the IT environment, and thus improving the delivery of information to users. All of this should result in the service’s frontline practitioners being able to carry out their work more effectively, making for an improved patient flow, with all working parts moving more smoothly.

Challenged with larger and ever-more-complex IT infrastructures on restricted budgets, as well as users who find themselves increasingly frustrated with performance and delivery issues, ICT managers in the NHS will welcome the insight and improved resolution time that IT analytics bring.

An informed customer

A number of NHS foundation trusts will outsource the management of their technical estate, employing a sub-contractor to run its IT service desk for example. As a result of this, the trusts’ ICT managers can often find themselves at risk of losing visibility and control, with services being carried out without their direct input or supervision.

The level of management reporting and real-time intelligence that IT analytics can provide will allow an ICT manager to feel like more of an ‘informed customer’, aware of what’s occurring throughout their estate, able to report on it and to respond to any issues that arise

However, the level of management reporting and real-time intelligence that IT analytics can provide will allow an ICT manager to feel like more of an ‘informed customer’, aware of what’s occurring throughout their estate, able to report on it and to respond to any issues that arise.

There is an obligation to a trust’s users and patients alike to deliver robust, secure technology services that are available around the clock and everything done from an IT level is singly concerned with meeting this obligation.

The deployment of IT analytics will allow for more intelligent and effective management of the NHS’s technical estate which will, in turn, deliver cost savings and contribute to the overall delivery of better care, better services and a better experience for its patients.

Working in practise

University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust recently selected Nexthink’s V5 modular platform to provide real-time visibility and analytics across its technical estate and network infrastructure.

“Information technology is essential in enabling top-quality levels of patient care and the delivery of world-class research and education,” said James Thomas, director of ICT at the trust.

“Nexthink’s End-user IT Analytics will deliver increased levels of intelligence on IT asset performance and utilisation. This will result in immediate tactical improvements as efficiencies are improved, whilst informing long-term strategic investments by increasing value and reducing costs.”

Mark Taglietti, head of ICT service delivery and vendor management at UCLH, added “Nexthink V5 is a unique solution and the end-user perspective it offers of our entire IT infrastructure will help us achieve our ambitious goals going forward.”

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